Exactly how ass backwards is London?

Please forgive the slightly crude blog title, but there really isn’t a better way to ask that question when I’m feeling the way I am.

The classic car on my street
Photo by plousia

London implemented a pilot project last summer that supposedly cost $140,000. The project? Letting people park overnight on city streets. The $140K cost comes from the apparent revenue loss of parking tickets that are normally issued to the poor saps caught leaving their vehicles on the road in the middle of summer.

A lot of people loved being able to leave their cars on the street. House parties, people too drunk to drive home or hail/call a cab (admit it, you’ve been there!), or a simple lack of parking in your driveway or on the lawn. The reasons you may need to leave your car on the street are numerous.

And yet when it came to studying the pilot project and deciding whether or not to allow this permanently, city council voted no. Why? Well, heaven forbid they lose that $140,000 for a second year in a row!

The travesty of it all!

If I recall correctly, and something that Gina Barber pointed out in her blog earlier today, is a system that Judy Bryant proposed. While Ms. Bryant is a city councillor I respect very much, I disagree that her system of issuing temporary parking passes to those that request them would actually work. It may sound good on paper (though I disagree that it sounds good at all), the task of requesting, issuing and tracking said temporary parking permits would probably cost the city more than the revenue it could possibly generate.

Where would people get the passes? How much would they cost to make? How much would they cost to track? How much would it cost to make sure they’re hard, or nearly impossible, to forge?

I see people abuse disabled parking permits more often than I’d like to admit. Wouldn’t such a small system be easily abused? I can only imagine the predicted revenue and then subsequent massive discrepancy such a system would generate in the city budget.

London Parking Meter
Photo by Video4net

An acquaintance of mine posited that extending the hours that people need to pay for parking would probably make up for the lost revenue. I agree with him. Downtown parking meters only require payment between 8am and 6pm. Why not extend that to 8pm year round? That should more than make up for allowing overnight parking.

So what did London city council approve last night instead? To give themselves back the 5% pay cut they took in 2008 as a “gesture,” as Gina Barber so nicely puts it, to show they understood what Londoners are going through. I challenge any city councillor to explain, with a straight face, to someone who’s been out of work for most (if not all) of the economic downturn/recession how they can support giving themselves back the 5%.

My biggest problem is that this council seems to get very little done. If I felt like London taxpayers were getting their money’s worth, I wouldn’t complain. But I don’t believe they do! There are some terrific city councillors, but the majority of them seem to prefer just sitting around and debating things instead of actually getting things done. In fact I think London would get a lot more done if some councillors/Board of Control members would just up and quit or retire.

So to end this rant so succinctly… London city council, either start getting things done that deliver visible, measurable results or risk being voted out in October. I hope that Londoners are finally sick and tired of being hosed and really pay some serious attention to this fall’s elections!